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Noose found at NC A&T/UNCG joint school part of disturbing trend

Disturbing news out of Greensboro Wednesday as a noose was found hanging at N.C. A&T and UNCG’s Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

From the story [1] in weekly paper Triad City Beat:

The discovery was made around 9:30 a.m. in an academic building, according to an incident report filed by NC A&T University Police. UNCG Police joined NC A&T Police in responding to the incident, although NC A&T University Police took the lead in the investigation, UNCG Police Chief Paul Lester said.

Lester said a security guard working overnight at the facility for a security company under contract with Gateway University Research Park, which manages the facility, took responsibility for the incident

“The person responsible came forward on their own,” Lester said. “There was no note or threat or anything. Obviously, it was entirely inappropriate. I believe the individual realized that after the fact. It was just a really bad idea on his part.”

NC A&T University identified the person responsible for the noose as Lindsay Willetts, a white male, in a written response to questions submitted by the Student Government Association.

Lester said the security guard responsible for fashioning the noose found some rope that was being used as part of an experiment by a student.

“It was intended as a joke,” Lester said. “He didn’t intend any harm. We didn’t take it lightly.”

Lester said the security company immediately terminated the responsible person’s employment, and he will no longer be allowed on the premises.

It may be hard to discern how a noose hanging in facility that’s part of the Triad’s most prominent historically black university is a joke – and neither administrators nor students took it that way, releasing a series of statements on the incident condemning it as hate, intolerance and a statement of white supremacy.

But it’s not hard to believe that it happened. Available data shows hate crimes up over the last year [2] in many major cities with an uptick in high profile incidents on campuses across the country [3].

That wouldn’t come as a surprise to many of the students protesting the “Silent Sam” Confederate memorial on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus. Last week they told the UNC Board of Governors [4] they’ve spent months enduring threats, racial slurs and even monkey noises as they demonstrate in front of the statue. They also have undercover police gathering information on them while there has been no apparent effort to investigate those harassing them.